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Annapolis Sailboat Show 2017

Wow, how different attending the boat show is now than it was the first time we went in 2012.  My only real sailing experience in 2012 had been in February of that year when I completed several ASA classes.  We did not know anyone at the show, most of the booths represented things I knew nothing about and Frank had almost as much to learn as I did.

Things have certainly changed in the intervening five years; thus proving that you can teach old(er) dogs new tricks since now I understand a decent amount about the products available in those booths.

But more importantly, we have met so many people through our travels, this blog, the FB page and by participating in events we encounter in various anchorages, that our weekend was as much about meeting with friends as it was scoping out new products and information.

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STTS Rally Reunion (Photo by Ken Reynolds)

We had an absolute blast this year reconnecting with friends from the 2016 Sail to the Sun Rally and all of us were very fortunate that Susan and Kevin of s/v Radiance hosted us all for several gatherings at their home.

Talk about fun! Get a group of sailors together, with plenty of good food and libations, then throw in shared travel for two months down the ICW and the conversations become lively and varied. We cannot thank Kevin and Susan enough for opening their home to the Ralliers and anyone else we knew in the area!

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STTS photo courtesy of Bill Ouellette.

I would love to share all the excellent pictures I took this trip, but I failed at photojournalism this weekend. I took all of ONE picture and that was of a huge motor yacht.  I wish I had been more cognizant of my photo opportunities because I would have at least taken a group picture of all the 2016 Sail to the Sun Ralliers who returned.  We ended up having 10 of the boats represented at dinner on Sunday night! WOW.  And that doesn’t include our fearless leader, Wally Moran.  We had better than half of the Sail to the Sun 2016 boats.  Impressive!!

Personally, I am not sure Wally was prepared for how well our group melded during our STTS Rally.  We were really fortunate to be part of the Rally and Frank and I are grateful to Wally for providing the venue for us to make such excellent friends.

Mindy and I last Halloween; could mean trouble. 

In addition to STTS folks, we met up with a few people we had met through our blog, some other sailors we met in our travels and our fellow Jabin’s Yacht Yard friends Mindy and Ron of s/v Follow Me.  LIB and Follow Me have been trying to catch up in various anchorages this year without success so we decided to make the meet up happen in our original stomping grounds.  Of course this meant we had to share drinks and dinner at Ebb Tide, a bar popular with the locals and within walking or biking distance of Jabin’s Yacht Yard.

This hurricane season has made us all very aware that things are replaceable and people matter most, which made our reunion with these friends just a bit sweeter.  Thank you dear friends for making time to visit with us and for sharing laughter and plans!

One unique and uplifting aspect of the boat show this year was the booths set up for hurricane relief to help the many islands and people so impacted by this horrible 2017 hurricane season. The Annapolis Boat Show established “Hands Across the Transom,” in an effort to encourage support of the Caribbean Islands.  Organizations participating in the Hands Across the Transom effort included Virgin BVI Community AppealPusser’s Hurricane Relief FundBVI Recovery FundVirgin Gorda & Bitter End Yacht Club Staff Irma Relief Fund, and Sister Season Fund. I overheard a lady selling #bvistrong t-shirts say they had sold over 450 shirts. GO PEOPLE!!

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You too can support BVI and have a shirt like hundreds of your friends!

We also spoke with a couple of the BVI charter groups and I was impressed with the attitudes of all of them.  The positive attitude and focus on rebuilding was clearly evident.  Of course there was also fatigue, but the overall impression was one of moving forward and not languishing in sadness.  We also heard that boat sales were brisk, so eventually the charter companies will be filled again with great boats available for vacations.

Both TMM and CYOA had several new sailboats launching from factories in France and those are expected to arrive very soon.  It sounded like the charter companies were targeting mid November or early December for sending out chartered boats. I was really happy to hear the date was that soon.

Frank and I did make some purchases during the boat show and per our usual modus operandi, did a LOT of research and information gathering.  I will dedicate a blog to what we learned and our purchases very soon.

As always, thank you for reading our blog. We love hearing from you so don’t be shy.  If you want information more often, take a look at our FB page.

 

 

 

Three Hundred and Sixty Five ~ Already!

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Image from “fountainofyouthmyth.wordpress.com”

For the ladies out there, I have discovered a secret for feeling young again!  Simply by coincidence, we mark our move onto LIB almost exactly on my birthday. So now I associate my birthday with how long we have lived on LIB instead of how long ago I was born.  The result? I have dropped 50+ years!

Seriously, it has been a year since we officially moved on board?  I’m amazed that so much time has passed because this all still feels fresh and new.

I would outline all the changes and adjustments we have made since moving on our catamaran, but I pretty much covered those in our Six Months Afloat blog.

Instead I’ll apologize for the lack of posts lately.  I cannot blame it on the internet, but rather on the lack of interesting stories.

We have been in a holding pattern for weeks (and weeks and weeks) here in Annapolis as we arrange and plan some changes to Let It Be.  (I’ll write about those soon!)  Between being in one place for several weeks and selling our house in Texas, there have not been many fun stories to share.

However, we have some exciting things coming up.  The Annapolis Sailboat Show is next weekend. The boat show is a giant, indoor/outdoor toy store for grown ups; or at least for those who like seeing all the new sailboats and sailing gadgets.

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Google image of the 2016 Annapolis Boat Show

As if that isn’t exciting enough, many folks we have met in various anchorages in the Caribbean will also attend the boat show this year. Frank and I have heard from several and we hope to reconnect with all of them during the four days of the show!

But honestly, our youngest son is coming in town for the show ~ yippee!!!  I know we will want to maximize our time with him, so we probably aren’t as available as we usually are.

How is it that all the fun things seem to happen at one time?!  Many days we have nothing but projects going on and I would love a distraction!  Oh well, no complaints. But I am looking forward to next weekend.

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The other event I’m really excited about is our upcoming Sail to the Sun 2016 Rally!  For those who aren’t familiar with a sailing rally, it is when a group of sailors gather and travel together on their individual sailboats.  In this rally, we will spend two months traveling from Hampton, Virginia to Miami, Florida via the Intracoastal Waterway.  Approximately 20 boats are enrolled it this event.

I am super psyched about exploring the ICW from our boat and learning the history of the ICW as we travel.  Wow, those who don’t know me would think I am a history nut because I keep talking about how much I want to explore these historical areas.  But more likely, the truth is that I was completely UNinterested in history when I was in school so I get to learn the history all over again.

I’ll talk a lot about our ICW Rally as we travel.  In the mean time, I am making my list of all the vendors I want to visit during the boat show.  Fun times!

 

 

Winds and Waves and Rain, Oh My!

The spirit of the “Christmas Winds” were upon us during parts of our BVI visit in December.  The Christmas Winds are expected in the Caribbean and usually means wind speeds of 20-30 knots.  Thus, the sailing can be spritely, to use a Christmassy term, during the holidays.

One particularly gusty day, we were anchored off of Sandy Spit when a fairly ominous looking storm approached:

Sandy Spit Storm

The sun highlights Sandy Spit like a favored haven.

The usually blue waters took on a more menacing green cast and the waves built out in the channel.  Luckily we were a bit protected by the reef that runs between Sandy Spit and Green Cay.  Though the storm didn’t last long, the winds and waves remained throughout the night.

We were very happy that we had invested in a heavier Spade anchor at the Annapolis Boat Show and that TMM had already installed it for us:

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As a precaution we let out a little more anchor chain, set an anchor alarm, and had a very restful night.  We are really glad there weren’t many boats anchored nearby because the boat that was anchored parallel to us on our starboard side? Well, the next morning it was at least three boat lengths behind us!

I’m really thankful for a good anchor, a solid hold and an anchor alarm to let us know if something goes awry.

Boat Show Wrap Up ~ Part 2

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 I interrupted our Annapolis Boat Show posts with news about the all female crew who sailed Let It Be for a week, but I wanted to share some additional thoughts from the boat show.

Some of the things we found at the boat show are practical and fun, like SeaSucker.  Fountaine Pajot did a great job designing the Helia, but they missed out on some little details; like drink holders!  SeaSucker, a company that makes suction cup accessories, to the rescue.

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SeaSucker ~ these suckers really suc  ~   tion that is! 

  Last year we bought some SeaSucker cup holders that can be moved to any flat surface on the boat.  We have a set we leave at our helm station and they are constantly in use. We like SeaSucker products so well that we go by their Annapolis booth because they always have cool new stuff.

This year SeaSucker had a GoPro/camera mount that I decided we really needed:

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SeaSucker Camera Mount

 The camera in this picture is way more sophisticated than the one I currently have, but at least I know that if I buy a heavier camera, my SeaSucker is up to the task of holding it.  I am hoping that we will get some great photos and group shots using this mount.  SeaSucker has other cool stuff, like a mount to hold your Ipad or Kindle.  The possibilities are endless!

Play time for us includes kiteboarding and sometimes that means we must communicate in a very wet environment. We want to make sure that when kiteboarding we can send a message for help or transmit a location beacon back to the boat without calling in the Coast Guard.  DeLorme had a booth at the show and we were able to learn a bit about their InReach system.  However, because technology changes so quickly, we are waiting as long as we can to make our decision about this satellite driven communication.

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 DeLorm InReach

We were impressed with the reviews of these Spinlock PFDs so we searched out that booth as well.  After trying on the PFDs and learning firsthand about features and maintenance, we decided the Spinlocks are comfortable and unobtrusive enough that we will wear them… essential when we get to the point of offshore/overnight passages.

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Spinlock PFD.

That pretty much wraps up the “big” decisions from this years Boat Show for us.  I was sad to leave the show and once again say goodbye to all the pretty new boats and shiny toys available.  However, my credit card was happy to return to my wallet and get some rest as it had more use than usual!

Research Made Fun

Next week we will fly to Annapolis where we must suffer through the 2014 Sailboat Show.  Dang!  What a hardship!

According to an article in the Capital Gazette, only 130,000 of our sailing friends will descend upon Annapolis for the show.

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                    Photo by Joshua McKerrow, on staff at Capital Gazette.

In 2012 at the Annapolis show, we wound our way through dock after dock of beautiful new boats, and the eye-candy was just too tempting.  After comparing several sailboats, we fell in love with the Fountaine Pajot Helia.  When we returned to Texas, we worked with Don Pietrykowski at TMM, and by good luck and fortunate timing, we were able to buy Let It Be and have her delivered to Tortola only four months later.

This year, the expenditures will be much smaller, but the research will be equally important.  Once we live on LIB, we will need to make several additions; many for safety and some for comfort. Okay, and a few more just for fun!

The Annapolis Boat Show is an excellent opportunity to look at many brands in one place.  Attending the show allows us to see and physically touch equipment as well as talk with well informed sales reps.  While I make light of this, the Boat Show is actually a fabulous opportunity to gather excellent information and seriously compare product features and ease of use.  Plus talking with others who have real-time experience with products we are considering helps us learn what we should be asking that we may not have considered.

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Of course, walking docks and research is pretty thirsty work, so we might just have to have a painkiller or two ~ just to stay hydrated!

 

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